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IMAGINE Interview: Karen Quintos

Quintos_Karen_9-17_2-247x300Karen Quintos, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Dell Inc.


1. What comes to mind when you hear the word “Imagine”?

I think of the hope and optimism I have that the world will solve some of its biggest issues – hunger, global warming, access to education – and that technology will play a key role in these solutions. As a female leader, “imagine” makes me think of the possibility that girls of all ages around the world can and will have the same access and opportunities that are afforded to men. I imagine gender gaps starting to close. I see more women leading companies, more females getting into the high tech industry, and more female entrepreneurs playing a key role in economic growth. And I think of John Lennon singing the words to his familiar song – “Imagine” — a timeless hit that is a great soundtrack for these goals.

2. Where do you find inspiration?

From my family, from my faith, from my Dell team and from other strong role models. And from a great song that I hear while I’m out for a 5-mile run!

3. How has your career path changed from what you imagined for yourself as a teenager?

It has definitely changed, in amazing ways. At one point in time, I was all over the map in terms of what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a flight attendant, an administrative assistant, even President of the United States! I always knew I wanted to be a mom. But my career aspirations really started to tighten when I did my first internship and then eventually took my first job at Merck. It was there that I got a taste of leadership and had access to great leaders and role models that continue to inspire me today. I got a taste for how I can make a real difference and that is what drives me every day.

4. If you could imagine this world ten years from now, how would you like to see the role of women change?

Definitely in the ways I describe above. I also think that if we are going to truly and permanently solve some of the world’s biggest problems, we have to actively involve women. If you train and educate women, they will educate their children or they will open up a business. Their actions can have a multiplier effect in making the world better.

5. What is your best piece of advice for women to translate imagination into reality?

Believe in yourself and have the courage to take risks. Think big or stay home!

Texas Conference for Women board member Karen Quintos is senior vice president and chief marketing officer (CMO) for Dell, where she leads marketing for Dell’s commercial business in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Japan, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa. She also has responsibility for brand strategy, global communications, social media, corporate responsibility, customer insights, marketing talent development and agency management. Karen is also the executive sponsor of the largest networking group at Dell, Women in Search of Excellence.